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On paper, Enes Kanter's 17 points Sunday night in Dallas on 7-of-9 shooting were impressive enough. But Utah coach Tyrone Corbin saw something even more encouraging than numbers, which could be partially credited to a late-game letdown by the Mavericks.
In a sequence of three plays, Corbin watched as Kanter utilized three different moves against Dallas center Chris Kaman. On one, Kanter turned into the lane for a hook shot; on the next, he went to the middle, but scored on a drop step after he was initially denied.
"The third time," Corbin gushed, "the guy didn't know which move was coming and he stepped off and [Kanter] stepped out and took a jump shot on him."
While it's easy to get distracted by the mounting road defeats the Jazz have endured their losing streak away from home grew to nine with Sunday's 113-108 loss little successes like Kanter's performance are the things that most encourage Corbin.
"It's just a growing process of reading what the defense has," he said. "He's such a big guy that's so used to contact on every play. Now to be able to interpret what he's doing, which advantage he has, what move he wants to go to."
Kanter credited his development to both his offseason conditioning that helped him arrive to training camp in remarkable physical condition, as well as one-on-one workouts with Al Jefferson.
"In practice I'm going against a big great player like Al," Kanter said. "So, whenever I'm on the court with other big men it's much easier."
While Kanter has had more impressive nights statistically his season and career high is 23 points Corbin said Sunday was unique because it demonstrated Kanter's growth and ability in reading a defense.
The second-year center from Turkey said Corbin has pushed him to utilize his newfound agility.
"He said you lost all your weight," Kanter recalled. "Now, you're fast now, face up and use your quickness and just go."
In practices, Corbin insists Kanter take one dribble in the post and go up. If he takes two in a scrimmage, it ends the possession.
They're all skills Kanter is learning to utilize.
"First I'm using my power," he said, "and second I'm trying to use my quickness and face up and just shoot."